Justice League: Generation Lost #12
Written by Judd Winick
Art by Fernando Dagnino
Talk about your big fight issues, this one is not at all what I was expecting. I mean, amped up Ice vs Fire was the given, and I predicted some big brawl between the BFFs built around Ice’s own insecurities and the situation they find themselves in. Instead we get something different, something….retconny. I think. See, I’m going to own up to my lack of experience with Ice and couple it with my general disinterest in the character outside of JLI stories, and the fact that there is a near identical character with a similar origin and powers in Icemaiden, and just admit that any retcons to her origin won’t bother me in the least bit. So this issue didn’t bug me.
See, the big thing with the issue is that Tora is flashbacking to her origin which involves being a gypsy and her father making her keep her powers secret by staying calm all of the time, as her powers would flair up when she got agitated. And then given that her gypsy family believed in an ice goddess that would eventually show up to save them, you’d think that’s Tora. But her dad didn’t, her dad saw the gift as something altogether different that his father, the head gypsy, would want to exploit for his own greed. So Tora’s life has been all about holding back, about staying calm, about keeping everything hidden and under control. All the way up until the moment that caused all of this to be blocked from her memory until this issue. That’s right, it’s not just a secret origin, it’s a repressed secret origin! The best kind! High five!
The issue is, for the most part, just the fight and the origin taking place alternately up until the end where they sync up together as Tora manages to remember all of her repressed memories just as the flashback wraps up. Her lack of confidence, her desire to just run away and not get involved, quite a bit of her characterization so far in this title makes sense with this. She’s a girl who is afraid of what happens when she cuts loose and lets her true power out, and considering that the fight itself is Tora at those cut loose power levels, well, it works.
As the most recently unexplored member of the team in this book, this issue is a nice set piece for the current JLI for readers who may not be so familiar with Ice. I mean, let’s use me as an example. I’m a Booster Gold fanboy who knows Fire (recently) from Checkmate, Captain Atom from Wildstorm and his backup stories, Blue Beetle from his solo and Teen Titans, and Rocket Red for being awesome in this book. You know what experience I’ve had with Tora in the last ten years? I Can’t Believe It’s Not The Justice League, the arc of Birds of Prey where she came back, her appearances in Green Lantern Corps, and this. She’s tabula rasa to me, and while I safely assume that there are longer term JLA/JLI/JLE fans that have much more vested an interest in the well being of her character, and her ability to remain in line with her classic characterization, I lack that. And thus I can enjoy this book for what it is and not go on my usual “This isn’t right! Retcon!” warpath, as….I got nada for a change.
Fernando Dagnino has a name that is really fun to say outloud, and he also turns in a top notch job with this issue. The action scenes are clear and well paced, the ice and fire energies clearly drawn out and looking pretty awesome. The origin scenes do a great job of capturing both the locations in Eastern Europe, as well as the characters in their various ages and emotional states. You almost don’t need the text to follow along, the emotion in the scenes are that good. Not to mention that Tora’s Winter Wonderland is a great looking page. In fact, if I had to make any complaints on the art, it would be hating that powered up Ice has DBZ spikey hair. It just seems weird, but then again, DBZ spikey hair is a pet peeve of mine.
All in all, it was a really good issue that I enjoyed quite a bit. As stated before, I can see where long time fans of the JLI might raise issue with this, as I’ve no idea how big of a change Tora’s origin story took with this issue. But as a fan who never really knew her, it doesn’t bother me, and I’m happy to see her get some spotlight as the story proceeds to move into the next act.
Tags: Brightest Day, DC Comics, Fire, JLI, Judd Winick, Justice League International, Justice League: Generation Lost, Reviews